The $2.1 billion system posted an 8.7% operating margin in the first quarter of fiscal 2015—well above the not-for-profit industry average—compared with operating losses in the millions a little more than a year before. The system partly credits its turnaround to sizable investments in physicians and outpatient sites. Pay cuts and layoffs also helped improve its finances.
David Strong, president of Rex Healthcare in Raleigh, N.C., was named the new CEO, effective this coming April. And Orlando Health felt confident enough to say no this past June to suitors seeking a merger or partnership, opting to go it alone. Its leaders reached that decision after those suitors told them, “You've got so much going for you.”
“We realized we were really much stronger than we had given ourselves credit for,” said Morgan, who prefers to talk about what “we” did rather than what she did. “Change for an organization is never easy and requires a certain kind of leader—one who brings a steady hand, a lot of credibility, a willingness to communicate openly,” said Linda Chapin, Orlando Health's immediate past board chair. “That's just Dianna.”
For her achievements and service, Morgan is the recipient of Modern Healthcare's Excellence in Governance Award for healthcare systems.
Morgan became an Orlando Health board member in 2002, a year after she retired from Mickey Mouse's Florida home as senior vice president of human resources and public affairs. She had worked for Disney her entire career, starting out supervising the tour guide program in 1971. She previously served as a member of the board of trustees of the University of Florida.
Morgan grew up in Orlando. After graduating from college with a degree in organizational communication, Morgan knew she wanted to stay in the area as she saw Disney starting to expand its empire to Florida. The tour guide job she got in 1971 gave her an appreciation of Disney's rigorous approach to customer service and people management, which she sees as needed in healthcare.
Her learning curve was steep when she joined the Orlando Health board in 2002, she said. But her Disney HR background helped her understand that healthcare needs to be re-engineered. “It was at a time when companies were not spending a whole lot of time managing that cost,” said Morgan, who lives outside Orlando with her husband, Chris.